Rangers GM Glen Sather raised some eyebrows last week when he told Edmonton’s Team 1260 that he’s received lots of interest in center Brian Boyle, but is loath to deal the 28-year-old.
“I’ve had a lot of requests for Brian’s services,” Sather said. “I’m not anxious to trade him. I think he’s a good player, he’s a great team guy and I think he has still an upside to go to. He’s one of those guys you may regret trading if you do trade him so I’m not anxious to do anything with him at this time.”
Boyle is perhaps the most polarizing player on New York’s roster and though we’re strong supporters of him here, his immediate future is a little cloudy. After the Rangers hired new coach Alain Vigneault, many assumed that Boyle would become Vigneault’s new defensive specialist, in the mold of Manny Malhotra. Given Vigneault’s mastery of matchup battles, Boyle seemed like he was in a good position to thrive as a shutdown checking center under his new coach.
However, shortly after hiring Vigneault, the Rangers inked Dominic Moore to a one-year deal, giving the Blueshirts one too many centers. Derek Stepan, Brad Richards and Derick Brassard are all obviously secure, but it’s still a mystery how Vigneault will handle Boyle and Moore. There’s been some talk of moving Boyle back to wing – as John Tortorella occasionally did in the past – but that would be misusing his talents.
With promising two-way center Oscar Lindberg coming over from Sweden this season and likely ready for a full-time role on Broadway in 2014-2015, perhaps it does make sense to consider offers for Boyle’s services. Sather certainly shouldn’t rush to make a move – Boyle could still be very useful this season and provides valuable injury insurance – but if there’s as much interest in Boyle as Sather indicated, then Boyle would appear to be prime trade bait before he becomes a UFA next summer.